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Letters to the Editor

Direct vote

July 30, 2012

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To the editor:

I understand that the presidential candidates are spending all their money and putting all their efforts into the so-called swing states — those that are not red or blue. So the campaigns have nothing to do with those of us who live in solid red or blue states, which further negates the value of the voters who are in the minority of these states, e.g., a Democrat in a red/Republican state.

Under the indirect, Electoral College method of electing the president, the votes of us “color-impaired” voters are irrelevant, meaningless. So, the majority of American voters are irrelevant to the campaign and the election of the president. But, all American voters would become essential to both the campaign and the election if we changed to a direct, popular vote to elect the president. Is this not what democracy is meant to be?

Comments

none2 2 years, 4 months ago

The United States was never intended to be a democracy; rather it is a representative constitutional republic. It is representative because we do not have to vote ourselves on everything -- rather we elect people to do so for us. It is constitutional to protect our rights against them being taken away on a whim. It is republic because positions of power our not inherited as is in the case of a monarchy.

If we were truly a democracy, we would individually have to vote on everything, and laws to protect our rights against the tyranny of the majority would be irrelevant.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 4 months ago

Going to a direct vote for the election of the President would not make the US any less of a Republic than it currently is.

jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

It would fundamentally change our system, from one in which states are supposed to be more equally represented, to one in which that's not the case.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 4 months ago

The current system doesn't represent "states" more equally. It represents the vested interests that control any particular state, effectively disenfranchising anyone in that state who doesn't share that viewpoint.

I don't know about you, but when I vote for president, I vote for the candidate that will do the best for the country as a whole-- not for what's best for the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, the Koch Bros., etc, or any of the other wealthy special interests who effectively control "my" vote.

jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

Sure it does.

That's the intent of the electoral college.

Wealthy special interests are a different issue, and you know I agree they should be kept out of politics. But, eliminating the electoral college won't do that.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 4 months ago

The electoral college most certainly works in favor of wealthy special interests. Eliminating it could reduce that influence, even if it doesn't eliminate it.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 4 months ago

How does the Electoral College work in favor of the wealthy and special interests?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 4 months ago

By amplifying the winner-take-all aspect of our electoral system. And the winner-take-all system is advantageous to those that have it all, and will spend generously to keep it that way.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 4 months ago

If the wealthy and special interests on one side of the political spectrum are able concentrate their efforts in small and smaller areas, wouldn't their political opponents be able to act likewise. I don't see how the electoral college changes that equation.

boltzmann 2 years, 4 months ago

No, it wouldn't. The states are equally represented in the Senate, but not in the House. A change to a popular vote for president would yield a different outcome in a minority of elections - however, it would change the way campaigns were run in that candidates would have to run a national campaign instead of focusing primarily on a small number of swing states. Having a system in which a large number of voters (Democrats in deep red states and Republicans in deep blue states) are effectively disenfranchised when it comes to presidential elections is not an effective or desirable system, in my opinion.

jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

I agree - that's why I've suggested numerous times that electoral votes be proportionally assigned, rather than "winner takes all".

But, just doing away with the electoral college entirely is a fundamental change in our system, and I'm cautious about those.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 4 months ago

Fundamental in what way? We'd still have only one president, for a term of four years, for a maximum of two terms. The votes cast just would be put through the pointless filter of the electoral college.

Kendall Simmons 2 years, 4 months ago

There are multiple problems with your argument. The first is that, no..."more equally represented" was not the purpose of the electoral college. Heck, a state with 20 electors has more influence than a state with 2.

The electoral college was actually designed to serve as a buffer between the people and the President. They worried that people would be duped into voting for a bad guy...and they only wanted "qualified people" as President. They simply didn't believe that the people themselves would make "the right choice". Hmmmm.

Plus the Founding Fathers never mandated the "winner takes all" approach. We already have examples of one candidate winning more of the popular vote, but losing the electoral vote and the election. How does that make states more equally represented?

I'd much prefer that all states operate like Maine (and, I think, Nebraska) and divide their electoral votes proportionately.

boltzmann 2 years, 4 months ago

The US is both a republic and a democracy. Those two terms are not mutually exclusive. You can be a republic, but not a democracy (China, for example), a democracy, but not a republic (UK, Australia, etc.) or both (as in the US, France, Germany, etc.) The term "democracy" does not apply only to the extreme form where everything must be voted on by everybody, but also includes representative democracy as an example.

Fred Mertz 2 years, 4 months ago

We live in a republic not a democracy. Think your vote is meaningless now then consider how meaningless the voters in KS would be compared to the numbers of voters in CA.

But if you don't like the system as it is now then work to change it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 4 months ago

"Think your vote is meaningless now then consider how meaningless the voters in KS would be compared to the numbers of voters in CA."

That makes no sense. My vote in Kansas would count exactly the same as the vote of any other individual anywhere, even California.

jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

Yes, individual votes are the same, but the collection of voters in KS will have much less effect than the collection in CA.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 4 months ago

Yea, and the collection of voters with red hair will have less effect than the collection of voters with black hair.

jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

Snarky remarks don't accomplish much, I'd say.

If you want to ignore the idea of the electoral college, and why it was instituted, go ahead.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 4 months ago

It wasn't snarky-- my reasons for voting have nothing to do with the way my next door neighbor votes, and grouping all Kansans together doesn't make any more sense than grouping all people with red hair together.

And what difference does it make why it was instituted? It serves no useful purpose while potentially distorting the will of the majority of voters (as in 2000, with disastrous results.) It's a pointless anachronism, pure and simple.

jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

Ok, we should just change our system into one you like better.

But, others also want to change the system in ways you disagree with - why should you win and they lose?

It serves the purpose of equalizing states a bit, so they have more equal representation, which is why it was instituted.

If the founders had intended to form a pure democracy, with simple majority rule, they would have done that.

I'm curious - when the will of the majority isn't in line with your views, are you equally supportive of it?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 4 months ago

"Ok, we should just change our system into one you like better.

But, others also want to change the system in ways you disagree with - why should you win and they lose?"

I don't understand your point. I find the current system extremely flawed. What's so wrong with my stating that opinion?

"If the founders had intended to form a pure democracy, with simple majority rule, they would have done that."

I don't care what the founders intended if it results in a bad system, such as the electoral college.

And giving "small" states exaggerated representation in the electoral college and in the US Senate doesn't strike me as the least bit fair, or equal.

jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

You can say whatever you like, of course, because of the constitution and your protected right to free speech.

Many people want to change the system, in different ways, without going through the accepted process to do so, eg. constitutional amendments. Conservative Christians want religion in government, liberals want larger more intrusive federal government, libertarians want no taxation at all, etc.

"I don't care what the founders intended" is exactly the problem for me.

Once we stop caring about that, how do we decide which version of change we should implement, and how?

You may not like the electoral college, but it was a fundamental part of the system/experiment of this country at it's founding - I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss it.

It equalizes the power of the states - surely you can see that?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 4 months ago

"I don't care what the founders intended" is exactly the problem for me.

First of all, we can never identify with certainty the exact intent of the founders, if for no other reason than there were a few dozen of them involved in crafting the constitution, and they were not of a single mind on most issues they addressed.

Secondly, that was a very different era. Much of the reasoning behind what they did is now so antiquated that it's often inapplicable/irrelevant to current situations and conditions. The electoral college was established for one basic reason-- the plutocracy of the day didn't trust the hoipolloi with political power. It's no longer the case that you need to be a white, male landowner to be able to vote. The intercession of the electoral college between voters and the president serves no purpose.

And while you might see it as having an "equalizing" effect, I see its primary effect as one of disenfranchisement. For example, in 2000, I voted for Ralph Nader. And while I think he would have made a better president than Al Gore, if not for the electoral college, I likely would have voted for Gore just to spare us the total disaster that was George W. Bush.

jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

And yet, if we simply throw out what was intended, what do we base decisions on?

We're a large and diverse country, with many different ideas about many things.

Apportioning electoral votes proportionally would provide you with the same, or similar incentive, and the greater possibility of affecting the outcome as well.

I've done a little research, and although it's not completely clear to me yet, one of the main functions of the electoral college did in fact have to do with equalizing the states, and giving small states more of a voice.

There are a number of other features as well - it was intended to be an indirect election, rather than a direct one.

Arguments pro and con have some validity, which is why I prefer to try to integrate them, rather than simply dismissing one side or the other.

Kendall Simmons 2 years, 4 months ago

No...the electoral college does NOT "equalize states a bit." That's the purpose of the US Senate. And the Founding Fathers never mandated a 'winner-take-all' approach. That's a 19th century development which has changed things significantly.

notajayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

"... grouping all Kansans together doesn't make any more sense than grouping all people with red hair together."

Well, except for the fact that the people of Kansas have shared interests to be represented before the government, and red-headed people do not. Besides that, good point.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 4 months ago

If we were to eliminate the Electoral College, candidates would focus their efforts where they could get the greatest bang for their bucks. They would go to places where they could reach the greatest numbers of voters in the shortest amount of time. In other words, New York, California, Florida, Texas, etc. Where they would spend little if any time is in places like North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Wyoming, Idaho, Alaska, etc.

The Electoral College was a compromise between the big states and the smaller ones at our country's founding. The smaller states were concerned that their voice would not be adequately heard. We were given a slightly greater amount of influence by virtue of the number of electors being slightly more than our populations might indicate. If that compromise were to be unilaterally taken away, what would the smaller states receive in return given that we still have the concern that our voice wouldn't be heard?

Phoghorn 2 years, 4 months ago

Well said. Without the E.C., candidates would focus on even smaller (geographically) areas. Instead of focussing on Pennsylvania, they would just campaign in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

Likewise, instead of campaigning statewide in the battleground state of Colorado, candidates would just hit up Denver and Colorado Springs.

Linda Endicott 2 years, 4 months ago

It seems to me that this is exactly what the candidates do now...campaigning in the big population states, like New York, California, Texas, Florida, etc...they don't go to places like Kansas, Alaska, Wyoming, now...there aren't enough electoral votes to matter, as the number of electoral votes are based on population, anyway...and one thing I don't like about the electoral college is that no elector is bound by law to vote for the candidate that receives the most votes in their state...while I don't know that this has ever happened, the possibility is still there...

Basically, the electoral college was set up because they thought that it wouldn't work, and so Congress would get to decide the winner...as it is, the representatives in each state get to choose who is an elector...I don't know about you, but I'm not quite confident enough in my representatives to let them decide who should get to cast my vote...seems odd to me...

Kendall Simmons 2 years, 4 months ago

Like they don't do that already??? Good grief.

Contrary to what you (and many others nowadays) believe, the Electoral College was NOT a compromise designed to protect smaller states. You're confusing it with the logic behind creating the US Senate.

The Founding Fathers' reasoning behind the electoral college was actually quite different, and you can read what they themselves wrote about it, or simply read summaries online.

jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

How about making the electoral college votes proportional to the popular vote in each state?

That way, the states retain their equalizing factor, while the minority vote gains representation as well.

notajayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Wouldn't that have the exact same result as direct voting?

And it would not retain the equalizing factor. The extra couple of electoral votes isn't exactly an 'equalizer' anyway, but it does help the small states compete on a slightly more equal basis, somewhat along the lines of the bicameral legislature (with one based on population and the other having an equal number of votes whether it's Rhode Island or California).

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 4 months ago

Maine and Nebraska are the only states to use the Congressional District Method for distributing their electoral votes. With the district method, a state divides itself into a number of districts, allocating one of its state-wide electoral votes to each district. The winner of each district is awarded that district’s electoral vote, and the winner of the state-wide vote is then awarded the state’s remaining two electoral votes. I think this would be more representative of the people's choice than the winner-take-all method most states use.

Jean Robart 2 years, 4 months ago

And you believe everything on Wikipedia?

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 4 months ago

Are you being sarcastic or stupid? Wikipedia is a fairly reliable source for accurate information. You'll notice the footnotes, which link to the actual sources of information used in the article. I've copied one below for your reading pleasure. Do you trust the federal government more than Wikipedia? Click the link and read the answer to the question: "What is the difference between the winner-takes-all rule and proportional voting, and which states follow which rule?"

http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/faq.html

snitty 2 years, 4 months ago

Granted we are a republic not a democracy, we claim to practice democratic elections. Everyone who votes should expect their vote to count. The Electoral College means that many can expect their vote not to count, so, in that case, why bother voting? It is profoundly anti-democratic and discourages participation in presidential elections. The "tyranny of the majority" is also known as the will of the people, and that is supposed to be sovereign. I agree with the LTE.

notajayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Ever watch the Gilmore Girls? There was an episode where people at a town hall meeting voted and decided that Lorelai and Luke couldn't be a couple any more, because the last time the owners of the inn and the diner had dated the town had no place to eat after they broke up. THAT is a pure democracy.

notajayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Well, besides the fact that most elections also include local races, there's also the indirect result of your vote. I.e., if every Democrat in Kansas decided to stay home on election day, there is no chance at all that the electoral votes would go to a Democratic candidate (not that there's a big chance now, but there's NO chance if you don't vote). You also have the means to try to persuade your fellow state residents to see your point of view - by doing exactly wat you're doing here, for example.

notajayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

True. However, the people that inhabit a praticular tract of land may have interests that are unique and/or are in conflict with those residents of a neighboring piece of land.

boltzmann 2 years, 4 months ago

but just because their interests are "unique", why does that justify giving them a vote that counts more than someone else's?

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 4 months ago

This piece of BS floated around the internet 3 years ago after Obama won and it was proven over and over to be a pack of lies. I suggest you check Snopes or Politifact before you blindly copy and paste your e-mail.

BigAl 2 years, 4 months ago

The popular vote was 69,456,897 to 59,934,814, respectively. Obama received the most votes for a presidential candidate in American history.

Everything else is just crap!

ivalueamerica 2 years, 4 months ago

repeating a known lie only makes you a repeat liar.

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 4 months ago

WOW! Look what I found!

"Separate an individual from society, and give him an island or a continent to possess, and he cannot acquire personal property. He cannot be rich. So inseparably are the means connected with the end, in all cases, that where the former do not exist the latter cannot be obtained. All accumulation, therefore, of personal property, beyond what a man's own hands produce, is derived to him by living in society; and he owes on every principle of justice, of gratitude, and of civilization, a part of that accumulation back again to society from whence the whole came."
Thomas Paine

No wonder the GOP and the Libertarians hate the Founding Fathers so much.

notajayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

"... give him an island or a continent to possess, and he cannot acquire personal property. He cannot be rich."

Most people would consider any person that owned a continent to be "rich", whether he could accumulate any more or not. Incidentally, he would also retain ALL of what he posessed, since there would be nobody to take it away through taxation.

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 4 months ago

Indeed he would...in a vacuum. If people possessed no more than what they could individually produce with their own hands and effort there would be no "rich" or "poor". There would be only subsistence and no culture, no art, no society. Really, Nota, even prehistoric cavemen knew better than that.

notajayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

So "art" is only "art" if there's someone to see it?

notajayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Most artists would disagree with you. The ones who sell out for commercial reasons would probably agree, though.

notajayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Yes, actually, Robinson Carusoe would be considered a rich man. He was trying to get back to civilization because he wanted to be around people (for some god-only-knows reason).

What would he need a gun for? And what would he want to barter for, since he already owns it all?

The problem is that people measure "wealth" not in relation to what they have or need, but in what someone ELSE has. Using Paine's theory (and if I'm reading your comment correctly, you seem to agree), no matter WHAT you had on that island or continent you owned (even if it was guns or any other convenience or luxury you could want or could dream of), you still wouldn't be considered "rich" because none of it would have any worth unless there was someone that wanted to buy it. Sounds to me like Paine was the ultimate capitalist.

notajayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Doesn't seem like Crusoe would be such a great example. After all, he HAD guns (and apparently quite a substantial store of ammo), and other things he hadn't made with his own hands (e.g. swords). And even though there was no civilization on the island itself, civilization did exist, and he did obtain items he hadn't made (from, for example, the Spanish wreck).

"you still wouldn't be considered "rich" because none of it would have any worth unless there was someone that wanted to buy it."

The salient point being that "wealth", according to this framework, is only defined by how badly someone else wants what you have. That's slightly twisted logic - a man can only be wealthy if there are other people, and other people that desire what he has. And since his state of being "wealthy" is dependent on others being present and wanting what he has, he therefore owes them something back (i.e., taxation). So, in other words, when he had more, he wasn't rich; only by giving some of it 'back' to others - whose only entitlement rests on their existence - can he be considered rich? MmmmOkay.

In a very loose sense, wealth can also be defined in such a way that others are not necessary - e.g., it would be fair to say that any excess over what you need could be defined as "wealth". (I maintain that Crusoe would be considered a wealthy man, even before the others arrived, as he obviously had more than what he required to survive, and he also had leisure time, meaning that not all of this time was taken up by working to survive.) It would seem that the real problem isn't what someone HAS, but in the nasty habit of comparing what one has to what everyone else has.

tolawdjk 2 years, 4 months ago

I get an additional take on what Paine is saying. You place an man on an island by himself and while he may be in "possession" of everything around him, without a society to flourish in, that "possession" has no worth. It is only through the mechanisms of society that one's possessions acquire value and therefore obtain ownership as personal property.

Take for example the Native American society. At the time of European settlement, many of these cultures and societies had no personal ownership ideas of the land. It was only through the clashes between the two societies that land ownership as property became introduced to them.

Without a society to place a value on the goods and services you have ownership of, "personal property" becomes a meaningless term.

notajayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

And as I said above, that's only the case if 'wealth' is measured by comparison to what someone else has. That's the real problem. If a person has much more than he needs of everything he could want, that's not 'rich' because there's nobody else that wants it? See the problem with that logic?

notajayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Theoretically, in a direct vote, the people of just nine states could outvote the people of the other forty-one. Think that's a good idea when they're deciding, oh, I don't know, say the location for nuclear waste dump sites?

Flap Doodle 2 years, 4 months ago

The disappointment of disappointed progressives is hardly an adequate reason to throw out the electoral college.

jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

To determine whether or not proportional apportionment of electoral votes results in the same result as direct voting, one has to do a little thought experiment and some math.

Last time I did that, I found it doesn't give the same results in all cases, but in some, when the split is the same, but reversed, in different states.

But, usually, it results in a closer outcome, with the minority in each state more represented, but the electoral college continuing to make states a bit more equal.

Sounds good to me - then D in KS, or R in solidly D states, will have more reason to vote, and in such a way that their vote may actually count.

notajayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Personally, I can see doing it IF the extra electoral votes went to the winner (i.e., the number of electoral votes equal to the number of Representatives gets apportioned, and the two given for the number of Sentors goes to the winner). That would be keeping in line with the way it works in the legislature. Of course, NO system using the electoral college will EVER be an exact representation of the popular vote due to unless you get into decimals.

But I can also see the purpose of the all-or-nothing way it's done now (in most states). The STATE has interests of its own. If the majority of the voters in a state favor a particular policy that will affect the whole state, that state's 'voice' should be heard.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 4 months ago

You pretty well nailed the main effect of the electoral college-- it favors well-financed special interests over all others.

notajayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

To a class-jealous complainer who sees every problem in terms of that one distinction, that might be true, I suppose. I was thinking more along the lines of, say, farm interests.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 4 months ago

"I was thinking more along the lines of, say, farm interests."

As family farms disappear, and corporate ag predominates, you proved my point quite well, especially in a state like Kansas.

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 4 months ago

Maine and Nebraska are the only states to use the Congressional District Method for distributing their electoral votes. With the district method, a state divides itself into a number of districts, allocating one of its state-wide electoral votes to each district. The winner of each district is awarded that district’s electoral vote, and the winner of the state-wide vote is then awarded the state’s remaining two electoral votes. I think this would be more representative of the people's choice than the winner-take-all method most states use.

notajayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Not a bad idea, but it would not remedy the problem. Realisticaly, do you think anywhere besides the 3rd district would go Democratic in Kansas? The problem would then be that a large number of Democratic votes in rural areas would be meaningless, AND a large number of Republican votes in the 3rd district would also be meaningless. On top of that, you could end up with that other problem in the electoral college on a smaller scale - you could still have a situation where the popular vote was overridden by the electoral vote total.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 4 months ago

Paul R. Getto above asks "Why vote? That's what our masters want. Low turnout". A recent local election in Lawrence produced a turnout of just 16%. Very sad. But was it our masters that wanted this low turnout or was is voter apathy? I suspect it's more the latter than the former. How do we get voters to the polls then? How do we motivate them?

I've got a couple of suggestions. My first suggestion would be to give each voter a substantial incentive to vote. Maybe we can just give them a huge sum of money for voting. Give each voter $1,000. Or maybe we can motivate people by proposing something so onerous that they will flock to the polls. Maybe put something on the ballot that will double their taxes, and then double them again and double it again. That ought to get them to the polls.

As long as people don't have a vested interest in an issue, they won't vote. We are free to engage in foreign wars because we don't have a universal draft. Want to ends those wars? Begin a draft. Want to get poor people to vote? Tax them. Think overall spending is too high? Force us to pay for everything (no deficit spending), then we'll decide for certain what we want to spend on and what we don't. But as long as we don't feel as if we have an interest in an issue, it's apathy that will keep voters away, not our masters.

notajayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

The bribe might work. Not too sure about the other plan - the truly apathetic would rely on those 16% to vote against a draft, higher taxes, spending cuts, etc.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 4 months ago

I agree about the Falklands/Malvinas debacle.

But it wasn't just the Argentinian Generals doing it because war is a good distraction. Thatcher was getting nowhere fast in advancing her plutocratic agenda in Britain, and instead of seeking a more sensible resolution for the Falklands, she dispatched an armada knowing full well that a military victory would play well at home, giving her the political capital to do things that were not in the best interests of the majority of Britons.

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm afraid you would be gravely disappointed.

jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

A simple proportional split would be better than more complex ways, in my view.

Winner take all clearly wipes out the minority votes, which is something we shouldn't want, if we believe in democracy, even in a democratic republic.

And, it results in apathy among that minority - many people said "why bother voting in KS if you're not republican"?

Take the whole number of electoral votes in a state, and apportion it according to the popular vote - ie. if the popular vote split 60/30/10%, apportion the electoral votes accordingly.

Greg Cooper 2 years, 4 months ago

That sounds reasonable, jafs, but i wonder if that system would not still give inordinate power to the larger states. If, for instance, Kansas gave 1/3 of its electoral votes to a Dem, but California gave 1/3 of its votes to a Republican, the Kansas vote would ne ultimately meaningless. In fact, wouldn't it take a very large majority of the smaller states to overturn even a couple of the larger ones' votes?

In any case, even though it seems not to be at times, I think the current system yields the most good.

jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

The votes would have the potential to matter in my version, whereas in the current one they have no such potential.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 4 months ago

That seems needlessly complicated. Better just to eliminate the unnecessary Rube Goldberg mechanism commonly known as the Electoral College.

jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

But, it includes the idea of equalizing the states, as well as trying to represent the minority more.

Your version completely casts out the state equalizing factor.

Go for it, though, if you believe so strongly in it - lobby your representatives to pass a constitutional amendment eliminating the electoral college.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 4 months ago

I think "distorting" would be a more accurate term than "equalizing."

Mike Wasikowski 2 years, 4 months ago

The idea that a direct vote will lead to candidates focusing exclusively on NYC, LA, and Chicago is ludicrous. Assuming equal turnout, if a hypothetical candidate somehow won 88% of the votes in each of the 5,000 biggest towns in America and 0% elsewhere, he would not get a majority of the votes in that election and would lose to the other candidate. That is a ludicrous standard to achieve. Only ten counties in the entire country hit that percentage of votes for one candidate in 2008. If anything, this would lead to higher turnout rates as states would try to maximize their impact on the election.

tolawdjk 2 years, 4 months ago

Foolish thought. With roughly 311,000,000 people in the 50 states plus DC, the state of Wyoming only has 568,000 people. If Wyoming managed to get every legal person to vote and only 10% of the rest of the country turned out, Wyoming would still only have a hair under 2% of the entire vote. The ammount of effort needed by Wyoming to have that amount of outcome would have no bearing on the general election and relies on maintained and increased voter apathy in the rest of the country. Even if in the above example California managed to get 12% rather than 10% it would have a larger effect than if -all- of Wyoming voted.

There is -zero- reason for a candidate to campaign in Wyoming if he or she could spend an extra two days in Southern California.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 4 months ago

Why should the 400,000 or so votes available in Wyoming count for more than any other group of 400,000 voters?

And the tendency of candidates to bypass areas of low population concentration is already a fact. But eliminating the electoral college would make it more likely for candidates to come to areas such as the JOCO/WYCO/Lawrence/Topeka area-- an area with relatively high concentrations of population, but because we are in a red state, few candidates come here.

tolawdjk 2 years, 4 months ago

I was commenting to the idea that in a direct vote system, states would try to increase thier turnout to increase their vote impact. I'm not saying that Wyoming counts more, I'm saying that if all of Wyoming voted it would equal less than 1.5% of the vote in California. And while I don't have facts to back this up, I have to think it would be easier to increase the california vote from 10% to 11.5% than it would be to assure that Wyoming's vote reached 100%. Further, any effort or level of excitement needed to get Wyoming to reach 100% would most likely have a corresponding increase across the nation such that Wyoming's effort would be washed out.

Removing the electoral college isn't going to increase people showing up in this area of Kansas. Electoral college or not, Kansas will be red. Mitt Obama or Barak Romney showing up to stump for 3 hours isn't going to change the political leanings of the population of this area. Swing states and independent voters are still going to be the targetted audience, regardless of EC or not. Few candidates come here because "here" is set in its political leanings.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 4 months ago

"Removing the electoral college isn't going to increase people showing up in this area of Kansas. "

I disagree-- if a Democrat can come into this area and thereby increase their share of the vote from 42% to 48%, that 6% increase will show up in the national vote total. Otherwise, it'd just be hidden and therefore irrelevant because of the electoral college that has Kansas always going red.

jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

Think of the European Union - smaller countries almost certainly want equal representation to join such a union, right?

Our country is much like that, with states forming a union.

notajayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Half the United States' population is in nine states. Think that might be a way candidates could maximize their exposure with the least cost and least time/effort?

And the mistake you're making is assuming ALL the people that live outside those targeted area will vote for one candidate. Actually, the overall country is pretty evenly divided. If the national polls reflect a situation as we have now, with no statistical difference between the candidates, they only need to focus their efforts on ONE major urban center to pick up a couple of percentage points, and win the election.

notajayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Anyone give any thought to what a recount would entail in a nationwide direct vote? Just sayin'.

Jaded_one 2 years, 4 months ago

All I know is that if someone votes Democratic in a Republican dominated State, that said State will cast their votes 100% for the Republican candidate. Does the voter truely feel represented in this situation? Just seems rather odd in this day in age...

jhawkinsf 2 years, 4 months ago

Don't complain that I'm speculating. That's exactly what I'm doing, so be forewarned.

Every now and then, the topic of eliminating the Electoral College comes up. We see it in these forums. We see it in the ivory towers of academia. Where we don't see it is in Washington. At least not in the form of a proposed Constitutional amendment. My guess as to why - Because it's dead on arrival. No way does it get the needed support in Congress and no way does it get the necessary support amongst the states. No way, no how.

Some here have disputed whether or not it helps smaller states. Some have said that wasn't the original intent. Whatever. I mean whatever. The very real practical reality (really) is that the small states, you know, those flyover states, those who have two votes in the Senate and relatively few actual people compared to our coastal brothers, we ain't voting for it. Not now. And not in the lifetimes of my grandchildren's grandchildren. Everything else is an exercise in futility. But if it's your passion to beat dead horses to death, again and again, carry on.

Kate Rogge 2 years, 4 months ago

I don't think there will ever be a day when Republican Kansas allows Democrat Kansas to have any share in this state's electoral college votes for President.

notajayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

How is the electoral college any different than, say, the Senate? The minority party in Kansas has exactly the same representation in the Senate as they do in picking a president. For that matter, how much representation does the minority party in any congressional district have in the House?

Kate Rogge 2 years, 4 months ago

The difference is where the votes are counted. Local elections count my vote at the local level. State elections, as for state representatives, governor, and congressional senators and representatives, count my vote at the state level. But my Democrat vote for the U.S. President stops at the state border. My vote has no share in Kansas' winner-take-all allocation of Kansas' six electoral votes. Non-Republicans can influence local and state Kansas elections (and even win some), but are completely boxed out of participation in national elections. It is a deeply unjust system that erases all non-Republican votes cast in Kansas in a national election, and I have no hope that it will ever change. Power does not make right, sir.

notajayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

A distinction without a difference. The fact remains that those in the minority party end up with no voice in decisions made in the Senate and the minority party in any congressional district ends up with no voice in any decisions made in the House. Those votes are also "all or nothing" votes, we don't send 1.2 Republican and 0.8 Democratic Senators to Washington. And you have EXACTLY the same chance of influencing the outcome of the Senatorial race as you do of affecting the recipient of Kansas' electoral votes.

BTW, how many statewide elections did non-Republicans "win" in the last election, again?

Kate Rogge 2 years, 4 months ago

It's not the same thing at all. Senators are elected by popular vote within the state. Presidents are elected by electoral votes. If Kansas Democrats' votes cast for President are equal to or greater than 1/6th of the total votes cast in Kansas for all presidential candidates, at least 1 of the state's 6 electoral votes should be cast for the Democrat candidate. See how that works?

BTW, weren't Democrats Kathleen Sibelius and Mark Parkinson our two previous governors?

Kate Rogge 2 years, 4 months ago

Why was my previous comment to notajayhawk removed?

Liberty275 2 years, 4 months ago

You can change the way we elect our employees by amending the constitution. Good luck.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 4 months ago

A four year degree is not quite enough. Having two or three sources of income is not a bad idea. Why? There are at least 6 reasons to keep in mind.

  1. Mergers
  2. Hostile Takeovers
  3. Leveraged Buyouts
  4. Free Trade Agreements
  5. Reagan/Bush Savings and Loan home loan scandal which killed the economy and cost the USA millions of jobs.
  6. Bush/Cheney Home Loan scandal killed the economy and cost the USA millions of jobs

All of above primarily Republican economics ultimately translate into millions upon millions upon millions of USA job losses. Big time layoffs are the end result. These jobs go abroad with tax codes that prevent taxation on profits made abroad from USA big name corporations.

There was a time when becoming employed by corporate America came with long term employment, fine wages and dependable retirement benefits. Those days are gone.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 4 months ago

Republicans cost the USA too much money!

Republican DEFICIT EXPANDING FLATFORM Written In Stone!

ENTITLEMENT - TABOR is Coming by Grover Norquist and Koch Bros sells out state governments, public schools,SRS services etc etc to private industry = Grab Your Wallets! http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0705rebne.html

ENTITLEMENT - Bailing out The Reagan/Bush Savings and Loan Heist aka home loan scandal sent the economy out the window costing taxpayers many many $$ trillions (Cost taxpayers $1.4 trillion), Plus millions of jobs, loss of retirement plans and loss of medical insurance. http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

ENTITLEMENT - Bailing out the Bush/Cheney Home Loan Wall Street Bank Fraud cost consumers $ trillions, millions of jobs, loss of retirement plans and loss of medical insurance. Exactly like the Reagan/Bush home loan scam. Déjà vu can we say. Yep seems to be a pattern. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2009/0709macewan.html

ENTITLEMENT - Bush/Cheney implied many financial institutions were at risk instead of only 3? One of the biggest lies perpetrated to American citizens. Where did this money go? Why were some banks forced to take bail out money? http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/10/good_billions_after_bad_one_year

Tax cuts = the ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy which do nothing to make an economy strong or produce jobs. Tax cuts are a tax increase to others in order to make up the loss in revenue = duped again.

Still A Bad ENTITLEMENT Idea – Bush Tax Cuts aka The ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class = duped one more time. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2001/0301miller.html

Richard Heckler 2 years, 4 months ago

In the end big debt and super duper bailouts were the results which does not seem to bother Republicans, as long as they are in power.

In fact, by the time the second Bush left office, the national debt had grown to $12.1 trillion:

Repub ENTITLEMENT - Over half of that amount had been created by Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy.

Repub ENTITLEMENT - Another 30% of the national debt had been created by the tax cuts for the wealthy under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Repub ENTITLEMENT - Fully 81% of the national debt was created by just these three Republican Presidents.

Source: http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0111orr.html

Richard Heckler 2 years, 4 months ago

Want Term Limits?

Replace all beltway republicans with democrats at the voting booth. Don't need legislation.

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